Tropical and subtropical forests represent the largest terrestrial carbon pool. Elucidating the carbon sources for soil microbial respiration (Rm) in tropical and subtropical forests is of fundamental importance to the global carbon cycle in a warming world. Based on hourly measurements, we quantified Rm of in situ forest soil and soil cores from a subtropical forest. We found recent photosynthates, not soil organic carbon (SOC), contributed 88% ± 12% of the carbon source fueling Rm. The control of recent photosynthates on Rm is also supported by the close relationship between Rm and photosynthetically active radiation as well as literature data synthesis results. These results challenge conventional models based on the tenet that Rm is mainly regulated by soil temperature in all forest ecosystems. The results imply that the widely observed warming-induced Rm increases are largely explained by the enhanced input of recent photosynthates in tropical forests, not SOC consumption.
|Date made available||2022 Oct 25|